Sculpture - University of Houston
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Jillian Conrad
Associate Professor
Program Coordinator
E-mail: jconrad@uh.edu
Office: South Park Annex 101

The Sculpture Program is an open laboratory with strong connections to Houston’s vibrant art communities. Built upon a forty-year history of shaping the regional art community in Southeast Texas, we teach contemporary sculpture as an adaptable, intelligent practice that constantly seeks new forms and ideas. We do this by supporting the material- and labor-intensive aspects of making things designed to live in the physical world and maintaining multiple workshops across two buildings on campus, while simultaneously creating opportunities for our students to engage the more ephemeral and fantastical aspects of the expanded field with recent seminars on topics like Art & Magic and Dirt.

BFA in Sculpture

Students preparing for the sculpture program are encouraged to explore a range of artistic disciplines. Fundamentals and processes courses provide knowledge in the tools, techniques and formal principles underlying the production of sculpture. Intermediate and advanced level classes expand the conceptual understanding of sculpture through a variety of topics and artistic practices. Critical feedback and discussions on contemporary issues in art encourage the development of personally meaningful and critically viable work in all classes.
 
Further development of individualized work is facilitated by an intensive three semester "block" of Junior and Senior level studio courses. Sculpture majors at this level are provided studio space and personal instruction by area faculty. Group critiques and class discussions provide a dynamic atmosphere for critical discourse. Lectures by visiting artists and exposure to Houston's museums, galleries, and non-profit, artist-oriented organizations further enhance the undergraduate experience.

Student Work

Visiting Artists/Curators/Critics

The Sculpture Program hosts multiple visiting artists, critics, curators and arts professionals each semester. Through lectures, critiques, workshops and site-specific projects, students are exposed to a variety of artistic perspectives and first-hand experience of professional art making practices.
 
Past Visiting Artists Include:
Mel Chin, Courtney M. Leonard, Kahlil Robert Irving, Mika Tosca, Margaret Wertheim, Jemima Wyman, B. Anele, JD Pluecker, Li Harris, Nicholas Galanin, Ryan Hawk, Tatiana Arocha.

Faculty

Internships/Independent Study

Sculpture BFA students create their own internship that is the equivalent of one academic course during their Senior year. The internship is an opportunity for students to get direct experience working professionally in an area of sculpture that interests them most. Most choose to work in a museum or gallery, as an artist’s studio assistant, and others develop their own uniquely tailored internships to support their professional interests.

Facilities

  • Fine Arts Facility

    The sculpture area in the Fine Arts building is home to a 2,400 sq. ft. ceramics facility and a 2,400 sq. ft. Fundamentals of Sculpture classroom, with adjoining workspace and materials lab. The Ceramics facility has electric kilns, a pug mill, clay mixer, raku kiln, and other equipment allowing for sculptural and functional ceramic practices. The Sculpture Fundamentals area is supplied with a range of hand tool and basic machinery supporting a broad range of medium sculptural fabrication techniques.
  • Elgin Street Studios

    The Sculpture Program recently moved into the new Elgin Street Studio building adjacent to the Fine Arts building. Occupying 8,000 sq. ft. of the ground floor, the Sculpture facility consists of large, fully equipped wood and metal working areas augmented by a spacious outdoor covered workspace. Two large open rooms serve as work and crit spaces for grad and undergrad Sculpture majors, while also providing room for a variety of special topics Sculpture classes. MFA and BFA sculpture majors have 24/7 access to two suites of private, generously-sized studios. The Elgin Street Studio complex is a sculptor’s dream, providing space and equipment to support the most ambitious creative endeavors.

Careers

Our most dedicated and inspired graduates enjoy dynamic careers making and exhibiting art. For these artists, the BFA degree is only the beginning of a lifetime of learning and dedication to the profession, as they establish independent studio practices and begin their professional careers. These graduates follow the path of productive, impactful artists, by expanding discourses in contemporary art, and contributing to the cultural vitality of Houston and other important art centers.
 
Our students go on to complete graduate degrees in studio art and arts administration in museums, galleries, and non-profit spaces; they also work in arts-related industries like fabrication, art handling, documentation, web design and preservation. Other BFA graduates complete teaching certification requirements through the College of Education and teach in public school systems. Students who are interested in teaching at the college level must first earn an MA or MFA degree. 
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